Metaphors

Postby Michael » Tue Oct 28, 2003 11:38 am

David,

Too much Tension.

I thought hard about writing the following, and decided against my better judgement and go ahead anyway. I apologize to the Jerry and to all if this is inapropriate in any way. It is not my intention to offend anyone.

I understand what Dorshugla is trying to say. He is not quite as far off as you may think.

Some of us exist within certain circles of friends. Some with the highly educated, those in business, or with educators, some with tradesman,.... Some watch Wall Street Week, and some NASCAR. Each has different experience, and often only see what touches upon their circle.

I don't know where Dorshgla or you "operate". But I operate in all circles, with the Republicans, Democrats, the University crowd, Artists, tradesman, and Farmers, urban, rural,.....

I quite often find that "average" people (I consider myself one) use metaphors but often don't know that they are using them. Do they understand them? Sometimes. I myself prefer direct in all things. Not because I am incapable when it comes to the "poetic". I love the history, development, and beauty of language, but I have no time for the poet who I know is writing to show how "skillful" he is at language rather having something to say. I state that just so you know where I come from. Li Po, tell me about drinking with your buddies and missing your home.

I would only comment on two things.

Here we are talking about differences in culture. And there are. People are the same all over, some are "good", some are "bad", some stupid, some smart, and even rarer, some have "common sense", some resent those that have more, some resent those who have less, and most (all) have selfish desires. I know people from all over the world and we all agree on one fact---people are people, but each "culture" has it's own strengths and weaknesses. "America" included. And if any country/culture cannot face it's shortcomings, it's weakness, it can't be "just" and it can't improve. A country is no different than an individual.

What Dorshugla says is true, this society has been and now is even more interested in the most profit for the least amount of work. With todays kids it is "if it isn't easy, why bother." I know a kid who really wanted to "play" the guitar. BUT he did not want to take the time to learn more than a few chords, and certainly not learn scales---which is what music is all about on the most basic level. Since he could not play the stuff he wanted, because it did not spring instantly from his fingers, he quit. It is not about taking a chance and failing, but in a sense, about not even trying. I know of a kid who plays H.S. football, he is good naturally, but never has to go to practice. He would quit if the coach made him. That is the messege that is being sent out there. Books have been replaced by magazines--usually PC Gamer and car "zines". This is not uncommon and it is becoming more common all the time. This is not a hopeful thing.

HERE IS THE TAI CHI LINKAGE

This is the same with many of the people doing taiji. There is greater turnover in "Tai Chi" than in any other "martial" art. WHy? Because people think it is "easy" but find out it is work, hard work. It usually has little to do with "failure". I take that back, I taught a couple beginners over the years that I thought were some of the most "gifted" beginners I had ever seen. They both quit because they could see that they were not as good as the intermediate and senior students. I explained that the others had been doing it for five and eight years, that they were much better than those others at the same stage of instruction. They thought they should be as good as them I guess, and if not, they were "failures". Most quit because it is "too much work", or "this is hard". MOst quit after learning the first section and go to yoga classes (yoga is great, don't get me wrong), or go to one day "Zen Retreats" once or twice a year. I have seen it over and over and over again. And if they are martially oriented, they go to Karate and TKD. Much faster results (as far as fighting) and they get all those nice Belts!

I am not "badmouthing" America. Some may call me a "cynic", but if you go out there this is what you will find. And you will find the same attitudes in children of the "non immigrant" poor, the middle class (what is left of it) and with the rich---though they tend to get a better education.
Don't watch the news, don't read the papers, go out there and you will see. Ever see "Jaywalking" on Leno? Sure he picks the "dumbest" people, but those folks are MUCH more common than you think. People with college degrees that do not know when the Civil war was fought, by whom, or who was the President at the time. It is disheartning. BUT you do not need to know that stuff to do "your job". I won't repeat here what an industry rep who was seking to work with the University system in program development, told me. It would scare the heck out of you.

We in North America (and elsewhere) DO desearve what we....get.

You know that I respect you, so don't get me wrong. I just have a different opinion, I guess from different experience. If you re read your post, I think you will find that what you thought was Dorshugla's disrespect towards "America" etc, you more than amply returned to him. Is this what you really wanted to do?

This is my fourth (semi)non Taiji related post in what?-- seven years or so. Hopefully it will be the last.

My best!
Michael
 
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Postby psalchemist » Tue Oct 28, 2003 2:12 pm

Greetings Michael,

I can understand your feelings on the issue...

My only hesitation is in the fear that generalizing whole nations or peoples into lists of their general qualities(good or bad) tends to create "stereo-typing" which ultimately leads to supporting prejudice and racism.

I prefer to think of every person as possessing their own qualities DESPITE their cultural upbringing. Our societies influence must surely play a role in our development, but what we do with, or how we handle this input is entirely up to the individual.

All Americans are...
All Chinese are.....
All Negroes are......
All Indians are.....
All Italians are....
All Jews are........
All Germans are.....
etc.................

Did you fill in any of the blank spaces with descriptive words (good or bad-irrelevant)?

This would be the effects of stereo-typing whole nations.

That is only my personal point of view.

Peace...

Thank-you,
Best regards,
Psalchemist.
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Postby dorshugla » Tue Oct 28, 2003 6:22 pm

Clarification:

I tried to be gentle and compassionate by using principles of metaphor of rollings hands but now i be seeing all kinds of things I never even imagined. Over reaction of the not so good kind but telling. If I say I am living taijiquan, how can I act in that manner? I apologized and I will do so again.
I did not respond to David initially becasue he did not see what I was saying but others want more explannation so I will do so.
I don't know where you get your information, but I assure you that your view of "North American society" is false in several ways.

You wrote, > In North American society, the word metaphor is not part of the cultural intellectual milieu. It has its place in hagiographical literature/arts etc.<

Most people tend to be direct in their approach to others so as to not be seen as lacking in purpose and direction.
ELABORATION: Per the topic, many teachers teach but keep back training for "special students: but many do not realize this. I tried to be kind in explanation but the truth is the type of training may be to appease the student while the student imagines he is getting the "best", which may be true at the levle of instruction. The training is not necessary "secret" but most of it is about perception on everyone's part.

What is present is the use of code words whether in the political or social sense where, when in use, people respond or, are taught to respond in a specific pavlovian manner.
ELABORATION: Same as above. I am being taught by famous master x so it must be the "best". As long as both sides are happy, ther eis nothing wrong with that.

David J stated "Robots are we? Look again. I think you need to drop the stereotypes and see us as though through a child's eyes. We sometime use the term "beginner's mind."
ELABORATION: That you stated is illusion. I do not know how stereotyping got into this matter. I am confused!

North Americans will have to learn more about metaphor in conjunction with the variations of meaning and tone to get the actual expression.
ELABORATION: Again I am not a native Mandarin speaker but one word may have variations of meaning whereas in ENglish (as a rule) it is usually a 1-1 correspondence (translation wise). If I just say Wu style, which one am I talking about, Yuxian or Jianquan. North AMericans will have to make the distinction and meaning to know they are 2 differnt styles, if they care. I do not know. People will have to ask themselves that. Understanding the actual character (Chinese) is a better step in learning or going beyond tone but they work together.
Tone in the the English language is relegated to attitude and manner/delivery of the spoken as opposed to tone in Mandarin 2ns 3rd, etc in the pronumciation of the word/character.

and this may be a problem in having faith (as Zheng Manqing once stated) in investing in loss or eating bitter, which is alien to the character of the society.
ELABORATION: Whether I agree with Zheng Manqing, i tried to be respectful and acknowledge that his point is well taken that faith is lacking in taijiquan kjowledge, especially if contradictory information is spread/taught. WHo does one believe regarding the true lineage? Those who profess secret taijiquan, etc.

dorshugla stated "People want stuff right now without working for it, or being handed a thing. The new immigrants would quicker understand this concept"
ELABORATION: Nowhere have I stated someone was better than another and I attributed no value of good, better, best, etc to any of the above. Again, just different ethos. ANy denoted ascritpion is not mine.

David stated "Here we have another stereotype. This implies that we, in North American society, don't deserve what we have. People come here, make money, and badmouth the USA and/or Canada; this is a sport that is unworthy. Every society has lazy people, but that isn't the norm.
ELABORATION: I do not know how all this stuff was gotten from what I stated.
I do not practice or engage in any of the stuff you noted so I did not respond initially. WHy pay attention to a feint that is easily seen? Again tui shou concept/principle!!

Does taijiquan training really carryover into one's actual life? A good question and it still remain to be seen.

may all be auspicious
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Postby Michael » Tue Oct 28, 2003 6:48 pm

Dorsugla,

Yeah, that is what I thought you said.

Pslachemist,

You are indeed correct. But nobody used the word "All". We would love to believe that "how we deal with this input [influence of society] is entirely up to the individual." Unfortunately,

"Modern man lives under the illusion that he knows what he wants, while he actually wants what he is supposed to want." Erik Fromm

"The great masses of the people will more easily fall Victems to a great lie than a small one." Adolf Hitler

"We" are being stereotyped by the rest of the world. But "WE" have created the "fertile ground" for the stereotype to be developed. THose that travel here know that ALL Americans are not "X". What the others don't see is that that same stereotype fits them as well...it is just a different shade. Let's talk about the French....no, just kidding.
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Postby Wushuer » Wed Oct 29, 2003 7:04 pm

Well, one thing for sure. We duh-mericans certainly go on the defensive when challenged.
We could likely stereotype every nationality and sub-group therein all day long.
Why?
There is no purpose.
Here in duh-merica (Hey, I'm the original duh-merican, it's not an insult people) DO want it all with little or no effort to get it. That's not a stereotype, it's TRUE.
Sorry my fellow duh-mericans, but there it is and it IS true, wriggle any way you'd like.
Should we be ashamed of that?
Nope.
Why not?
Because we live in the greatest society in the world. One where if you play your cards right you CAN get it all with little or no effort.
"All" here being subjective to money, women (men if you happen to be a lady, or not... anyway), cars, houses, swimming pools, TV's, stereos, whatever material possesions we crave are available to us if we were lucky enough to be born rich or hit the lottery or do well in school and choose the right career.
That is fact. Not all of us, but certainly enough of us to keep the stereotype alive.
Then there is the class just below that, the one who gets more than they need due to some or even quite a bit of hard work. These lucky folks still have it all, not as easily but still...
Then there are those of us, because I'm included in this third group, that work like slaves all day every day and get what we need and some of what we want, still in relative comfort compared to most folks around the world. I'm new to this class, but there I am.
The next group being the ones who work like dogs, only barely scrape by, get what they need but not what they want.
Next, those who work like slaves but still can't get everything they need for whatever reason.
Next, those who work like slaves and don't make it.
Then finally those who don't do a thing for whatever and live off society.
I won't go into it further, that's the class system here in this county, I believe, in a nutshell.
None of it has to do with our TCC skills. I have had students from every class I listed above. There are those that were so rich and spoiled that even though they had unlimited funds and unlimited time to practice wanted me to somehow magically provide them with "master" status and then they wouldn't have to work any more for it. I even know some instructors who did this, handed out "disciple" level titles for a price. I won't name names, but they are out there. These "disciples" can't even list the names of the first ten postures in the forms, but by gum they're "Disciples" so they feel important.
I have had students who I let clean up after class rather than pay me cash, who worked four jobs and could barely eat but spent every off duty moment of thier lives practicing and who became smashing martial artists, able to apply the principals of the thirteen postures to their routine, and who I would not willingly cross hands with in anger.
I have had the entire gambit in between.
To me, the "rich" people in this scenario are the ones who cleaned up the studio to pay their way and who "got it" and are now disciples because they earned it, not because they paid for it.
These people are the true "Americans". They took the nothing they had and they applied themselves diligently and they prevailed in their goals because they wanted to, above all else. Just because they didn't have the cash or copious amounts of time they didn't give up, they pressed ahead in the face of adversity and they came out the true winners.
The rich man with unlimited time and effort who "gets it" and truly becomes a practitioner of peerless TCC is not a huge surprise to anyone. Their accomplishment is not to be minimized, and I wouldn't dream of doing so, but to me this is not as laudable as the poor man who "gets it" despite the adversity he had to overcome to get there.

I guess my point here is this:
If you work hard and truly attain mastery over your chosen art, no matter what that may be, you have truly accomplished a feat to be proud of. Your race does not matter, your "heritage" has little, if not nothing, to do with it. You "made it" on your own.
Being the guy who cleaned WTCCA and taught beginner classes for my Sifu for two years because I couldn't pay any tuition (I had two young children, a house, two cars and worked two jobs while training), I can tell you I was some proud the day I was finally labeled a "practitioner" by Sifu and Si Kung.
Let's leave race, nationality, creed, color or shoe size out of this discussion. These things are superfluous.
Either you study hard and do your best to "get it". Or you come to class and waste your time and money because, well..
You can.
The first group are the ones who "get it" in the end. The second, well...
They pay the bills.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Wed Oct 29, 2003 7:10 pm

Greetings,

I'm not sure how this discussion got so far afield.

Dude, where's my thread?

--Louis
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Postby psalchemist » Wed Oct 29, 2003 7:42 pm

Greetings Louis,

Sorry for deviating so far from the thread topic.
I am not too sure myself how things got that far...
I will be brief...

Greetings Michael and Wushuer,

Thanks for your opinions. You both make some points worth considering.

I have undoubtedly tipped a little too far in one direction.

My apologies for any discomfort stemming from my misinterpretations of the disscusions at hand.

Too much Tension...right.
I'll just chill-out now! Image

Thank-you,
Best regards,
Psalchemist.
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Postby Wushuer » Wed Oct 29, 2003 10:27 pm

Dunno where the thread went.
Is there a metaphor for losing a thread?
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Postby dorshugla » Wed Oct 29, 2003 10:59 pm

mes ami,

According to TCM principles, would this be deficiency or excess?
P.S. not talking about food! FYI
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Postby Michael » Thu Oct 30, 2003 12:58 am

Louis and Wushuer,

Lost thread?

Where I come from, we call it "Catch and Release".

This is the "fishing" tread is it not?

Psalchemist,

I am never "uncomfortable".
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Postby psalchemist » Sat Nov 08, 2003 12:08 pm

Greetings Louis,

From the "Song of the Thirteen Postures" comes a quote:

<The hsin is the commander,
<The ch'i is the flag,
<And the waist, the banner,


Has this metaphor been discussed before on other threads?

The "commander" is rather straight forward, I find, but it would be interesting to know how "flag" and "banner" translate in chinese expression and manner.

How do you interpret this metaphor and it's symbolism?

Thank-you,
Best regards,
Psalchemist.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Sun Nov 09, 2003 10:53 pm

Greetings Psalchemist,

The quote you mention actually is not from the “Song of the Thirteen Postures,” but from “The Mental Elucidation of the Thirteen Postures.” There, it appears as three lines of three characters each:

Xin wei ming4 (heart/mind serves as the commander)
Qi4 wei qi2 (qi serves as the signal flag)
Yao wei du2 (waist serves as the directional banner)


As you suggest, this is a cluster of metaphors. In warring states battle techniques, there was an array of signal flags, used in conjunction with drums and gongs, to keep the communication effective among the troops so that they could function as one unit. The du (directional banner) was used with the qi (2), another kind of banner or flag, to clarify the lines of command. Sunzi wrote: “Drums, gongs, flags, and pennants are the way to coordinate the ears and eyes of the men.” (ch. 7, trans. Ames, p. 131)

In the case here, taijiquan theory is appropriating the military terms, and using them metaphorically to illustrate the goal of coordinating and consolidating one’s own body to work as an integrated unit.

The same cluster of terms appear in another taiji document, one of the Yang Forty texts (#24) titled, “Explanation of Taiji’s Balance Scale in the Waist and Crown,” where we find: “The chariot’s wheels are the two aspects of the mingmen. Once the directional banner (du) is waved, the chariot turns. The heart/mind commands, and the qi4 is deployed like signal flags (qi2).”

The added imagery of the chariot (again, inspired by military tradition) helps bring these metaphors to life. I think the hierarchy of command and sequence is better capured in the “Mental Elucidation” document, though.

Take care,
Louis


[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 11-09-2003).]
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Postby psalchemist » Mon Nov 10, 2003 6:33 pm

Greetings Louis,

Thank you for clarifying the actual origin of that quotation. I had drawn this information from a source on the internet titled:
Tai Chi Combat and Health
Expositions and insights into the practice of the thirteen postures by,
Wu Yu-hsiang (Wu yu-xian)(1812-1880), sometimes attributed to Wang Chung-yeuh.
As Audi had discovered through research.

What I understand from the two examples you provided.
The XIN(Shen), mind/heart, intent, is the commander in charge, the leader.

The Yao, waist, chariot wheel, is the directional banner. Directing the chi from the lower body to the upper body. ( A transition from the 5 footwork skills to the 8 hand skills ? )

The ch'i is the signal flag...?
Could someone shed some light, present an interpretation of what that might imply, please?


Also,the "Yang 40 texts" quotation you supplied seems to imply that the XIN(intent) begins after the waving of the directional flag, the YAO(waist) transition has taken place:
<Once the directional banner(du) is waved, the chariot turns. The heart/mind(YI) commands, and the QI is deployed like signal flags>-

Is there implication towards the idea that there is intent(YI), mind/heart application only after one has entered into the hand skills portion.
OR
Does this imply that there is no real intent in the footwork skills, but rather that the intent follows after the waist movement?

Thank-you,
Best regards,
Psalchemist. Image




[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 11-10-2003).]
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Postby Audi » Sat Nov 15, 2003 6:46 pm

Greetings Psalchemist,

Here is how I understand these concepts. The Xin (Mind) is equated with the general. The Qi (vital energy) is the signal flag that transmits the general’s orders. The Yao (lumbar spine/waist) is the banner that is waved according to what the signal flag indicates. The troop formations (Jin, or “trained force”) follow the banner to bring their individual fighting force (Li, or “raw strength”) to bear. If you respect this chain of command, your force will be applied naturally, smoothly, and in a lively manner.

The chariot wheels are the two kidneys that frame the Mingmen. (I am getting most of this from one of Yang Jwing-Ming’s books.) The turning of the Mingmen means more or less the same thing as the turning of the Yao, i.e., once the kidneys rotate, the waist will rotate. This rotation, however, takes place according to the dictates of the Qi, as symbolized by the signal flags.

There are many ways to think of how “YI/I” (“Mind intent”) fits into this. One way that would be consistent with the military metaphor is to imagine exactly what the general should be thinking of. The strength of individual soldiers? The strength of particular units? The abilities and tactics of his or her officers and signal corps? I would say that a general must see the battle, and even the war, as a whole. Strategy should precede tactics. Once one fully understands the relationship between these parts, one can flexibly and easily get the most from one’s troops.

As for the relationship between the Bagua and the Wuxing, I do not think that these are really meant to be seen in isolation. The Bagua and the Bamen have their foundation in the hand and arm play between you and the opponent, but part of this is also determined by what your legs do. These are really whole-body concepts and not truly limited to the hands and arms. Similarly, the foundation of the Wuxing is in the interplay of stepping between you and the opponent, but part of this is determined by what the upper body is doing. This also is a whole-body concept.

All hand techniques (i.e., the Bamen) are rooted in the feet; on the other hand, even in fixed step push hands there is clear advance, retreat, left, right, and center (i.e., the Wuxing).

Take care,
Audi
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Postby psalchemist » Sun Nov 16, 2003 2:18 am

Greetings Audi and Louis,

Thanks for your interpretations and explanations on this metaphor, it has helped me to understand the processes better, I think. Image

Let me merge this metaphors concepts with some other information acquired recently...to see if I'm understanding correctly.

---------------------------
YI (intent,spirit,focus)
---------------------------
v
v motivates,
v
---------------------------
XIN (mind/heart)-[commander]
---------------------------
v
v commands,
v
----------------------------
RELEASING
----------------------------
v
v leads to,
v
----------------------------
SINKING
----------------------------
v
v leads to,
v
----------------------------
ROOTING
----------------------------
v
v leads to a wave of qi up from the feet,
v
----------------------------
QI [signal flag]
----------------------------
v
v qi raises up to the waist,
v
----------------------------
MINGMEN (kidney) [chariot wheels]
+
YAO (waist) [DU:directional banner]
----------------------------
v
v ripples through body,
v
----------------------------
BODY (spine and torso)
----------------------------
v
v manifesting through,
v
----------------------------
ARMS AND HANDS
----------------------------

"Troops", "corps" and "individual soldiers", I don't know, I would guess it is in between body, arms and hands, or perhaps you are referring to somethings more subtle?

Does this process list make sense?

Thank-you,
Best regards,
Psalchemist. Image

P.s. I understand of course that this is applicable only to Form practice ideology and not suitable for Push Hands with an opponent...Well, it is, but with all the additional skills and implications which would ensue.

[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 11-15-2003).]
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